Found a Baby Crow?

In the Crow specie the tail length is a determining factor in the age of the bird. You can place a Juvenile bird with a tail length exceeding 3 - 4" in the branches of a tree with the thickest canopy and cover. A pool net is very usefull in helping to get  this done. Place the crow in the basket of the net and hoist as high into the tree as possible and then wait for him to climb out onto the branches. For crows with less than 4" in tail length, refer to a rehabilitator. The information below will help you in determining the relative health and age of the bird. Rehabilitator contact information for crow rescue is also provided.

Baby Crows

1) Is the bird bald or feathered? If bald, blue eyed with a crimson mouth it is a nestling crow. Crows make their nest too high up to actually be able to place the baby back in the nest. Crow parents will not care for two nests at the same time, so making an alternate nest is not an option. This baby will need rehabilitation.

2) If developing sleek feathers, what is the tail length; very important to determine. In crows, if less than 3-4" they need rehabilitation. If in doubt measure the tail. Lift the wings in order to do this the tail starts at the body,not the portion that just extends out from the wing tips.

3) Do not leave a nestling crow on the ground. If the bird is not within a few days of flying (refer to tail length), it will probably starve to death even if the parents are nearby.

Place the baby in a box that is lined with a soft material. If he is bald, he is not thermoregulating so he will need an external heat source. Double bag two ziplock bags and fill with warm water and place under the soft lining with in the box. Place box in a warm quiet area away from kids and pets.

4) If the baby is gaping (opens his mouth and begs) you may soak dog kibble until it is soft and moist and drop size appropriate pieces into his mouth until he stops. This may be offered every 30 minutes. Do not force open his mouth.

6) Do not offer water as he may aspirate (choke). He will get enough moisture from the soaked kibble. This will hold him temporarily until a rehabilitator gets back to you.

Healthy Fledgling Crows put up in a tree

Healthy Fledgling Crow Observation

  • Birds found on the ground that pass all of the criteria below and have a tail length exceeding 4" can be placed back up as high into the trees as possible, where they were found:
  • Is the bird attempting to fly up at least 3-4 feet or at least able to fly parallel to the ground?
  • Is it holding both wings equally to its body when it is standing? Does it use both wings equally when it tries to fly?
  • Does it use both legs equally when standing or walking?
  • Does he have a strong grip with his feet? The bird will need to hang on to a branch when put back into a tree.
  • Tail length is a determining factor in the age of crows. You can place a bird with a tail length exceeding 3-4" in in the branches of a tree with a thick-set canopy. (A pool net is very handy,place the bird in the net and hold it up into the branches and allow him a few minutes to climb out into the tree.)
  • Get the bird up off the ground and the parents will continue to care for him. In most situations the parents will not feed him on the ground, they will stay around making a lot of noise and may fly to the ground but generally will not feed him. If they do feed him, will not be able to feed enough to sustain him and he will starve.
  • Be certain that his parents are there. They will be the ones making all the noise.
  • Fledgling Crows  Answering "yes" to any of the questions below will necessitate bird rehabilitation.
  • Is the tail less than 3-4" in length?
  • Is the mouth color pale pink to white (indicates anemia)? Red is normal
  • Is there any crusting, discharge, in or around the eyes or mouth?
  • Does the breast bone feel sharp, like the breast bone of a chicken with out the meat? You need to put your fingers through the feathers to feel the bone. The breast should feel plump on either side of the bone. If too thin, could indicate parasites, illness, or spending too long a period on the ground.
  • Are there any sores or injury?
  • Is it missing any feathers or are a large portion of the wing feathers white? ?
  • Do you feel mites on your hands when you handle the bird? Can you see mites in between his feathers on his skin? Mites will appear as very small red dots if they have already fed on the bird.
  • Is he lethargic and staying in one place or non-responsive?
  • Is he injured, limping,dragging a wing, stumbling?

Injured Adult Crows not able to fly or visibly injured require immediate rehabilitation.

Southern California Crow Rehabilitation Contacts:

  • Calabasas: 818-591-9453
  • Orange County: 714-637-8355
  • Santa Barbara: 805-966-9005
  • Simi Valley:  805-428 7105
  • Ojai Raptor Center

This is a healthy fledgling crow and can be placed back up as high as possible in a tree in the area that he was found. And his parents will continue to feed him,if left on the ground he may starve.This is a healthy fledgling crow and can be placed back up as high as possible in a tree in the area that he was found. And his parents will continue to feed him,if left on the ground he may starve.

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